Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Christmas Crinkle Cookies #recipe by @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  Since As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles debuted in July of 2018, I’ve had lots of conversations with people about Christmas cookies. Family faves and new finds. Traditions. What makes a cookie a “Christmas cookie?” And while I can report that the top faves are consistently frosted sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and snowballs (aka Russian teacakes, Mexican wedding cakes, and pecan sandies), chocolate crinkles have a lot of fans, too. Oddly, I had never made them, so when I spotted this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated, I decided to give it a try. 

Welcome to the list of family favorites, rich, dark, delicious Christmas Crinkles!

The cookies do involve a few steps and multiple bowls, but they are actually quite easy. Rolling them first in granulated sugar, then powdered or confectioner’s sugar is what gives them their distinctive crinkles.

The only challenge I had was the size of the cookie. The recipe says two tablespoons, for a yield of 22 cookies. That was clearly too large. I settled on about 1-1/2 tablespoons, and got 21 cookies, so if I’d done that from the start, my yield would have matched the recipe’s. 

The touch of espresso or instant coffee is nice—not overwhelming, and totally optional. The household Cookie Monster says it makes them the perfect breakfast cookie, with a good cup of coffee. 

Cook’s Illustrated says “underbake for proper chew.” Twelve minutes was just right in my oven, even for the larger cookies. 

‘Tis the season!

Christmas Crinkle Cookies

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup all-purpose flour 
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
1½ cups packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking sheets. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla. 

Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50% power, stirring after each 30-second burst, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until well-mixed. With a spatula, fold in the flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. 

Place granulated and powdered sugars into separate shallow bowls. Form each 1-1/2 tablespoon ball between your hands, roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in powdered sugar, to coat and place on baking sheet, in two rows of 4 with a row of 3 in between. 

Bake 1 sheet at a time, until puffy and lightly cracked, with centers soft but edges beginning to crack. Cracks should appear shiny. Bake about 12 minutes, rotating sheets after 6 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets. 

Makes 22 rich, chocolate-y cookies that embody the taste of Christmas any time of day!

From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5, out now in paperback, e-book and audio (Seventh St. Books and Tantor Audio) : 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ... 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow. 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. These are SO good. In order to make them a little more Christmas-y I might swap the vanilla extract for peppermint extract.

    There is a gluten-free version of this cookie that uses almond meal instead of flour. It's called a Chocolate Sparkle cookie, in case anyone needs a GF recipe. They are amazing.

  2. These cookies are SO good. Dangerously so!
    I make a version and chill the dough before forming the balls and rolling them in the sugars.
    Note: don't skip the two types of sugars in the coating. The combination is the secret.

  3. This sounds awesome will add to my baking list.

  4. I love crinkle cookies! The first recipe I developed for my debut is a Filipino take on the crinkle cookie. Definitely adding yours to my baking list :)